Former Teachers Start City Dads Group For Clueless New Fathers

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We’ve come a long way since the stereotyped archetype of the 1950’s and 60’s where a man goes to work to be the breadwinner, and the wife stays home to take care of the baby.

Men now invest triple the amount of time in child care than they use to back then, according to a 2014 Pew research survey. Also, it’s slowly becoming accepted that dads need time off from the work to be at home raising their newborns.

parents and kids

Many support groups for new moms, like Mommy & Me, exist, and give new mothers a forum to share tips, or just vent about the trials and tribulations regarding their sleepless nights as new parents. However, an equivalent group for new dads is not so easy to find.

As the culture shifted, and men started taking care of their kids, there was a demand for these groups for dads. That’s what New York City public school teachers Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider found when they took a leave of absence from their jobs to raise their kids within 5 years of each other. Lance was a bit clueless, “I had zero experience handling a newborn and was terrified, but excited to take it on.”

kids and dads dress up

Understandably, Lance and Matt had a lot of frustration and trouble being the primary caregivers. To give each other support, they’d meet and chat weekly about their issues in raising the kids. Lance remembered: “We would get together once a week and it was cathartic to speak to someone who wasn’t an ‘expert’ but more of a ‘veteran’… Just to be able to get those perspectives…Things that moms’ groups talk about all the time but – with no community – dads hunger for.”

nyc dads group

They decided to form City Dads Group in 2008 to spread this idea of support and education. Now, they are in 36 cities, and boasts over 10,000 members total. Lance and Matt were happy to, “give back to the community,” and see the group as their, “legacy.”

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